Murray HS (Salt Lake City, Utah) four-star defensive end Maxs Tupai announced his decision today between Utah, UCLA, and Oklahoma that he was signing with the hometown Utah Utes! Tupai, who is 6-2, 245, opted not to sign on National Signing Day with UCLA coming on strong right before signing day. Tupai took an official visit to Westwood after signing day and officially visited Oklahoma shortly before signing day. According to the 247Sports Composite, Tupai is the No. 2 player in the state of Utah, the No. 22 weak side defensive end nationally, and the No. 295 player in the 2016 class. He is the only four-star recruit from high school (Utah has JUCO four-stars OT Garett Bolles and OLB David Laufatasaga as well). Tupai had his pick of most of the schools in the Pac-12 and several top Big XII schools. Tupai is the third defensive end in the 2016 class (the others being Leki Fotu and Semisi Lauaki) that the Utes landed over USC.
This is a huge pickup for Utah. Tupai could challenge for playing time this season. He fits the mold that Utah looks for in a defensive end. In his Hudl film, Tupai shows off his skills as a passer rusher, beating offensive tackles around the edge and getting pressure on quarterbacks and tackling running backs in the backfield. He also shows off how athletic he is by outrunning defenders playing running back. Tupai lined up all over the field in high school, playing both strong and weak side defensive end (playing both standing up and a hand on the ground), running back, and offensive tackle in addition to playing on special teams. He was a playmaking, forcing fumbles, intercepting passes, blocking field goals, and recording tackles for loss and sacks. I would not be surprised to see him fill the Koa Misi, Trevor Reilly, Nate Orchard, etc. role of a hybrid edge rusher that always shines in the Utah defense. Overall, this is a huge pickup. Tupai is a big-time talent, and this is a big recruiting win for Utah to keep a local player like Tupai home.